In late October, I attended the trial’s opening arguments. I thought then, and still do, that the ranger who left his loaded gun in a part of San Francisco where parked cars are frequently targeted by thieves bears some responsibility for the chain of events that led to Steinle’s death, though I don’t think he should be charged with a crime.

Many outraged readers told me they had no doubt that Garcia Zarate had stolen the weapon, even though prosecutors and police said they had no evidence or information that he did. Perhaps they had heard that Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan wrongly claimed that Garcia Zarate had stolen the gun, and fired it multiple times, when he proposed “Kate’s Law,” to stiffen penalties for immigrants crossing into the U.S. illegally.

Evidence in the trial seemed to contradict that.